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10/30/2019 Southeast Asia (International Christian Concern) – Although Southeast Asian countries lauded the killing of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by the U.S., they are bracing themselves for possible retaliation attacks and continuous fight against the terrorist group’s deepening influence in the region.

On October 28, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, countries who have long suffered from extremism, said that they are preparing for retaliation by Islamic State loyalists, including “lone wolf” attacks by locals radicalized by the group’s powerful online propaganda.

According to Defense Secretary of the Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana, although IS leader’s death will unsettle Islamic State, it remains capable and dangerous. “This is a blow to the organization considering al-Baghdadi’s stature as a leader. But this is just a momentary setback considering the depth and reach of the organization worldwide,” he said. “Someone will take his place.”

Malaysian police counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay also told Reuters that the real concern was not Islamic State’s leadership but the effect of its teachings.

“What we are most worried about now are ‘lone wolf’ attacks and those who are self-radicalized through the internet. We are still seeing the spread of Islamic State teachings online. Islamic State publications and magazines from years ago are being reproduced and re-shared,” he said.

Indonesia’s intelligence agency echoed and said Jakarta was ready for retaliation and though Baghdadi’s death would be a psychological blow, Islamic State would have a successor in place. They will secure the country in case of a counterattack by IS followers.

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